Rangers v Motherwell: We’re underdogs and that’s another first, says McCoist

ALLY McCoist believes Scottish Premier League leaders Motherwell are the clear favourites over Rangers heading into tonight’s Scottish Communities League Cup tie at Ibrox.

Added to that, the Rangers manager believes the third-round clash is the first time his club has gone into a domestic outing as underdogs.

Stuart McCall’s men sit at the summit of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, while Rangers are still trying to settle into their new surroundings in the Irn-Bru Third Division following a summer of turmoil.

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McCoist said: “I think Stuart and I will probably disagree on this one but I would have to say Motherwell are favourites.

“Being top of the SPL and the in-form side in the country at the moment, you’d have to say they would be favourites.

“It’s not for that reason alone. We are in a transitional period, we are a completely new team.”

On Rangers’ underdog status, the manager added: “Let’s be honest, it’s probably the first time it’s happened in the club’s history.

“Going into any game domestically, you could argue that Rangers, even against Celtic, if not total favourites, would have been expected to win the game or come out of the game with a massive amount of credit for our performance level.

“The fact of the matter is, where the club is and with the new team, it’s not a given that we’re expected to beat Motherwell. “It’s not a bad thing. It’s a learning curve and a realisation of where we are as a team.”

Rangers were dumped out of the Ramsdens Cup on penalties against Queen of the South at Ibrox last week and McCoist is well aware of the size of task facing his side against the Steelmen. His young side found Queen of the South well organised and difficult to break down, and Rangers can expect an even tougher assignment from the SPL leaders this evening,

He said: “Motherwell always gave us very difficult games when we had arguably £25million, £30m worth of talent.

“Nothing will change in the respect that they’ll give our new team a very tough task. At this moment, Motherwell will fancy their chances against anybody in the country.”

But he refused to write off Rangers’ own chances of progressing in the competition. McCoist added: “Favourites can be beaten and I firmly believe that we can beat Motherwell. We will be doing our damnedest to do that.

“The cup competitions would be the ideal situation to guide ourselves on how we’re placed in terms of playing the top teams in the country.

“It won’t be the end of the world if we don’t win the tie but I firmly believe we can win.”

McCoist spoke at the weekend of his weariness over the SPL’s ongoing investigation into alleged undisclosed payments made by Rangers to players, in relation to Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs), during the previous Ibrox regime.

A hearing into the case takes place in November and, if found guilty, Rangers could be stripped of titles. The manager – who celebrated his 50th birthday on Monday – again reiterated his desire to be allowed to look to the future following a turbulent period in the club’s history.

He said: “It’s the only thing that hasn’t been dealt with and finalised.

“All I’ve asked for is an opportunity for the club to move forward now that we have got a reasonable level of stability, which is all we wanted – a playing field to go and play football, which we have now.

“The only stumbling block now is this scenario.

“I just want it totally out of the way so that we can officially move forward and get our great club back to where it belongs.”